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Intravenous fluid resuscitation: was Poiseuille right?
  1. Andrew D Reddick,
  2. Julie Ronald,
  3. William G Morrison
  1. Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to Andrew D Reddick, Emergency Department, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK; andrew.reddick{at}


Aim To compare the flow rates of readily available intravenous infusion devices and to compare the effect of the addition of pressure or a needle-free intravenous connector device.

Methods Several intravenous devices with different characteristics had their flow rates determined under a standard set of conditions. The flow rates were then measured with the addition of a pressure bag to the system and then with a needle-free intravenous connector device. The flow rates and change in flow rates were then analysed.

Results The results showed a general agreement with Poiseuille's law. The needle-free connector slowed the rate of flow by up to 41.4% with the greatest effect on short, wide-bore devices. The addition of pressure had a greater effect on longer devices.

Conclusions Short, wide cannulae should be used when rapid fluid resuscitation is required. Needle-free devices should not be used when rapid fluid resuscitation is needed.

  • Emergency departments
  • resuscitation
  • major trauma

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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